Chickens-my on again off again relationship

homespun

Chirping
Apr 6, 2008
8
7
61
Michigan's Thumb
I've had a flock of chickens at various times over the past 20 years. I will get baby chicks in early spring and keep them until winter or I might winter them over and keep them until late fall of the following year. I've never kept a flock longer than two years. Now I'm contemplating buying a new coop and before spending a lot of money I'm considering all the reasons why I don't keep my flocks for a longer time period. One, I like to have them free-range when possible and this leads to destroyed garden beds and manure on the garage floor among other things. Two, the coop I currently have is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Three, if we want to go away for a few days, we have to find someone to take care of the henhouse. Four, predators. Five, the day to day chores get monotonous. There are probably more reasons than this. And I think there are solutions to each of my concerns. What's the longest time period you have kept your flock?
 

Harmony Fowl

Crowing
Jul 17, 2017
644
1,273
266
Virginia
I have kept chickens continuously since hatching my first nearly four years ago.

This sounds familiar to me. I fostered kittens for awhile. I'm a cat person, but at the time didn't want to make a commitment to a new pet. The SPCA paid for everything for the kittens and I got to enjoy them at their cutest and give them back just as they became a little bit of a nuisance in addition to cute. I really, really enjoyed doing this. I could never have so many cats permanently, that would make me a hoarder, but fostering let me enjoy large numbers of cats, help them and the SPCA and then not keep them without being irresponsible. Just the opposite, really.

It sounds like there's something you enjoy that draws you to get chickens but not keep them. It's not such a crazy idea to get chicks in the spring and sell in the fall or the following spring, whenever suits you. I know that local to me, at both times there are always people looking for POL pullets or already laying hens. You would have zero trouble finding buyers. Depending on what you chose to raise, you might even make a little money. I know plenty of people who do this in addition to the permanent flocks they raise. Along the way, you might find individuals you really don't want to part with, or maybe not, but you could always sell and begin again the next spring. Really, I don't even see vacations as much of a problem. If you really don't want the trouble of finding a chicken sitter before a trip, sell them in advance, even if it isn't fall yet. Someone will still want them as some of the time and work has been done for them.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
8,257
36,043
933
Belding, MI
It's not such a crazy idea to get chicks in the spring and sell in the fall or the following spring, whenever suits you. I know that local to me, at both times there are always people looking for POL pullets or already laying hens. You would have zero trouble finding buyers. Depending on what you chose to raise, you might even make a little money.

I can see this working out well, especially if you had breeds that people really want, and high quality birds. Or at least not just run of the mill from TSC. But even POL "commoners" would be desirable. If you hang out on BYC for any length of time, you will see a LOT of roosters needing to be rehomed. But VERY few pullets. You could have something great to offer.

And, welcome! BYC is a fabulous forum to be on. There is also a Michigan thread, so stop by there and say hi too.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...ll-are-welcome.697050/page-4726#post-23693732
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,461
13,104
656
western South Dakota
Well you don't mention your numbers, but size is something to consider. Half a dozen chickens is not near as much work as 35-30 chickens. This is a case where less is more.

Couple of things to reduce your daily chores.
  • deep bedding - once a week top with grain, they will break up the manure, it will look fresh again
  • Stored feed - several feeders are on here, that you fill once in a while
  • bigger waters - same deal - do once or twice a week.
    • deals with able to go away for a few days
  • coop/run set up for 24/7
    • no manure on garage floor
    • no torn up gardens
    • no predators
  • Hideouts/ platforms/ roosts in the run - makes it more interesting and lets chickens get along better, without free ranging.
  • Only occasionally let them free range, they tend not to get into so much trouble.
I have had chickens since 2007.

Mrs K
 

homespun

Chirping
Apr 6, 2008
8
7
61
Michigan's Thumb
I have kept chickens continuously since hatching my first nearly four years ago.

This sounds familiar to me. I fostered kittens for awhile. I'm a cat person, but at the time didn't want to make a commitment to a new pet. The SPCA paid for everything for the kittens and I got to enjoy them at their cutest and give them back just as they became a little bit of a nuisance in addition to cute.
I could be a foster mom to chickens! It's an idea worth considering.
 

homespun

Chirping
Apr 6, 2008
8
7
61
Michigan's Thumb
I can see this working out well, especially if you had breeds that people really want, and high quality birds. Or at least not just run of the mill from TSC. But even POL "commoners" would be desirable. If you hang out on BYC for any length of time, you will see a LOT of roosters needing to be rehomed. But VERY few pullets. You could have something great to offer.

And, welcome! BYC is a fabulous forum to be on. There is also a Michigan thread, so stop by there and say hi too.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...ll-are-welcome.697050/page-4726#post-23693732
It's true that pullets are hard to find. I would prefer young layers to baby chicks, but I've never come across any when I was looking. Thanks for the welcome, I'm a long time lurker.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,682
143,819
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I will get baby chicks in early spring and keep them until winter or I might winter them over and keep them until late fall of the following year. I've never kept a flock longer than two years.
What do you do with them when you are 'done' with them?

One, I like to have them free-range when possible and this leads to destroyed garden beds and manure on the garage floor among other things. Two, the coop I currently have is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Three, if we want to go away for a few days, we have to find someone to take care of the henhouse. Four, predators. Five, the day to day chores get monotonous.
It sounds to me that you really don't want to have chickens?
 

homespun

Chirping
Apr 6, 2008
8
7
61
Michigan's Thumb
Well you don't mention your numbers, but size is something to consider. Half a dozen chickens is not near as much work as 35-30 chickens. This is a case where less is more.
Couple of things to reduce your daily chores.
deep bedding - once a week top with grain, they will break up the manure, it will look fresh again
  • Stored feed - several feeders are on here, that you fill once in a while
  • bigger waters - same deal - do once or twice a week.
    • deals with able to go away for a few days
  • coop/run set up for 24/7
    • no manure on garage floor
    • no torn up gardens
    • no predators
  • Hideouts/ platforms/ roosts in the run - makes it more interesting and lets chickens get along better, without free ranging.
  • Only occasionally let them free range, they tend not to get into so much trouble.
I have had chickens since 2007.
Mrs K
Those are good suggestions. I've had as many as 25 hens but the last flock was only six. My problem with limited free-range time is when I go out in the garden and see the chickens pacing back and forth inside the run waiting for me to let them out. I have to let them out. :) One thing I'm definitely interested in is installing an automatic door.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,461
13,104
656
western South Dakota
Is your run wide open rectangle? or does it have clutter. Clutter makes more use of the vertical space, lets chickens get away from each other, and gives them more exercise. That might help with the pacing.
 

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